Friday, June 15, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Reggie Dylan: (626) 319-1730 Matthew Abraham: (773) 682-9322 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.defendcriticalthinking.org
In a letter to the Board of Regents,
A growing number of scholars see CU's investigation of Churchill's scholarship as completely illegitimate and a dangerous precedent threatening dissent and critical thinking in the universities. The CU -
Churchill noted in response to Brown's letter that "the University had received no formal or written complaints about my scholarship when it initiated this 'investigation.' All of the allegations investigated were either solicited or brought directly by University administrators." He also noted that "The Investigative Committee charged with conducting a 'fact-finding, nonadversarial' investigation was chaired by law professor Mimi Wesson, who - in February 2005 - had compared me to 'charismatic male celebrity wrongdoers' like O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton, and had already come up with the faulty 'traffic stop' analogy the Committee used to justify its conclusions." The committee included no American Indians or experts in American Indian Studies, and scholars that had used Churchill's research in their own work were removed from the committee.
The report of the committee hearing Churchill's appeal found that Churchill proved by a "preponderance of the evidence" that "but for" his exercise of his protected first amendment rights, the subsequent investigation of his scholarship would never have been initiated.
In a recent open letter to colleagues around the country Dr. Margaret LeCompte, President of the Boulder AAUP Chapter, wrote: "What has happened at the University of Colorado makes a mockery of both due process and academic freedom protections, AND what faculty believe. It is a cruel violation of the delicate balance between faculty rights and administrative responsibilities. The entire process was a sham---imitating the form, but not the intent, of due process and fair, objective, scholarly investigation."
Two faculty groups that have examined the report of the investigative committee claim that the report is seriously flawed. In an unprecedented action, both have now filed formal charges of academic misconduct against the members of the faculty committee. The most recent group to do so, made up of principally Indigenous scholars from around the country and Canada, documented "many instances of fraud, fabrication, plagiarism and/or serious deviation from accepted scholarly practices" which "demonstrate a consistent pattern of deliberate misrepresentation intended to discredit Professor Churchill's larger body of scholarship." Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters at
The implications of this case go beyond the threat to Churchill's reputation and career, as serious as those are. The attack on Churchill is seen by many in academia as part of a much broader attack on academic freedom and critical thinking and dissent. Dr. LeCompte notes, "It is not limited to
This is illustrated by the recent denial of tenure for
Churchill noted in his response to Brown's letter that "President Brown, his new VP Michael Poliakoff, and Regent Tom Lucero, like Bill Owens, are key players in Lynne Cheney's American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). ACTA and similar neoconservative groups have received generous funding [from] Castle Rock (Coors), Scaife, Bradley and Olin foundations to eliminate Ethnic, Gender and Peace Studies Programs and to purge higher education of those who think critically, challenge historical orthodoxy, or otherwise threaten the status quo."
Opposition to this impending firing has been increasing nationally, as more and more academics recognize the stakes involved in the Churchill case. An open letter signed by numerous prominent scholars, including Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Derrick Bell and Immanuel Wallerstein was published in the New York Review of Books in April. Scores of others have written letters of support, and there was a recent Emergency National Forum in
Richard Falk, visiting Distinguished Professor at
# # #
Matthew Abraham - Department of English, De
William Ayers - Distinguished Professor of Education and
Derrick A Bell - Visiting Professor of Constitutional Law,
Timothy Brennan - Departments of English and Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature,
Renate Bridenthal - Emerita Professor of History,
Bob Buzzanco - Department of History,
Dana Cloud - Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the
Drucilla Cornell - Professor in the Departments of Law and Political Science at
Sandi E Cooper - Professor of History,
Richard Delgado - University Distinguished Professor of Law and Derrick Bell Fellow,
Seth Kahn - Assistant Professor of English,
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Middle East Institute,
Vinay Lal - Department of History,
Gary Leupp - Professor of History at
Henry Silverman - Professor and Chairperson Emeritus, Department of History,
Immanuel Wallerstein - Senior Research Scholar,
Tim Wise - Author of "White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son," and "Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White."
For more information, contact us at (626) 319-1730 Criticalxthinking@yahoo.com www.defendcriticalthinking.org
Or contact any of the faculty listed below to arrange an interview:
Matthew Abraham: email@example.com; (773) 682-9322.
Timothy Brennan - firstname.lastname@example.org; (651) 228-0965.
Dana Cloud - email@example.com; (512) 471-1947.
Drucilla Cornell - firstname.lastname@example.org; (212) 260-9730.
Seth Kahn - email@example.com; (610) 436-2915.
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